A U visa is designed for certain victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, kidnapping, and other listed crimes who have suffered physical and mental abuse and are helping government officials in investigating such criminal activity. If a U Visa is granted, the applicant is given immediate legal status in the United States and a pathway to Legal Permanent Residency (green card) in the United States. To qualify for U Visa, the crime must fall within one of the categories of crimes listed in the U visa statue. The qualifying criminal activities are: Rape, Torture, Trafficking, Incest, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Abusive Sexual Contact, Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation, Female Genital Mutilation, Being Held Hostage, Peonage, Involuntary Servitude, Slave Trade, Kidnapping, Abduction, Unlawful Criminal Restraint, False Imprisonment, Blackmail, Extortion, Manslaughter, Murder, Felonious Assault, Witness Tempering, Obstruction of Justice, Perjury, Attempt, Conspiracy or Solicitation to commit any of the aforesaid crimes.
Family members of the applicant can apply for a U Visa. If the applicant is 21 years of age or older on the date of application, his spouse and children less than 21 years of age will be eligible to receive a U visa as qualifying family members. However, if the applicant is under 21 years of age on the date of application, his spouse, child, parents and unmarried siblings under 18 years of age will be eligible to receive a U visa as qualifying family members. It is pertinent to mention here that USCIS also considers the fact that the qualifying family member would suffer extreme hardship if a U visa is not granted.
- Evidence that the applicant is a victim of a listed criminal activity, which includes one or more of the aforementioned or any similar activities in violation of Federal, State, or local criminal law of the United States:
- Certification from a law enforcement officer, prosecutor, judge, or other state or federal authorities that criminal activity violated the laws of the United States and occurred in the United States
- Nature of substantial physical or mental abuse suffered by the applicant from the crime
- Applicant is in possession of information concerning the alleged criminal activity
- Evidence that the applicant has been helpful, is helpful or is likely to be helpful to a federal, state, or local investigation or prosecution
Investigation or Prosecution:
The definition of “investigation or prosecution” includes, but is not limited to, the victim’s assistance in the detection, investigation, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of the criminal activity. It is worth mentioning here that U visa certification does not require that law enforcement actually investigate the criminal activity beyond reporting of the crime, nor must a conviction result from the victim's cooperation, but must attest only to the U visa petitioner’s willingness to be helpful or past or present helpfulness in detection, investigation, prosecution, or investigation efforts.
To qualify for a U Visa, the applicant should not be in violations (inadmissible) on the grounds listed in the Immigration & Nationality Act. The inadmissibility can be related to crime, security, and foreign policy, or immigration violations. However, if the applicant is in violation of the immigration laws and is subject to admissibility grounds to receive an immigration benefit, he is required to obtain a mandatory waiver asking that those violations be excused.
At The Ahluwalia Firm, our emphasis is on:
- providing zealous representation before the USCIS
- providing careful review of your personal circumstances
- providing careful coordination of all correspondence with government agencies
- ensuring a service-delivery model that meets and exceeds your satisfaction
For additional information about our ability to evaluate, prepare, and file your U Visa application, contact us for reliable legal support.